The French have surrendered. This could be foreseen from last night’s broadcast and in fact should have been foreseeable when they failed to defend Paris, the one place where it might have been possible to stop the German tanks. Strategically all turns on the French fleet, of which there is no news yet…

Considerable excitement today over the French surrender, and people everywhere to be heard discussing it. Usual line, “Thank God we’ve got a navy”. A Scottish private, with medals of the last war, partly drunk, making a patriotic speech in a carriage in the Underground, which the other passengers seemed rather to like. Such a rush on evening papers that I had to make four attempts before getting one.

Nowadays when I write a review, I sit down at the typewriter and type it straight out. Till recently, indeed till six months ago, I never did this and would have said that I could not do it. Virtually all that I wrote was written at least twice, and my books as a whole three times – individual passages as many as five or ten times. It is not really that I have gained in facility, merely that I have ceased to care, so long as the work will pass inspection and bring in a little money. It is a deterioration directly due to the war.

Considerable throng at Canada House, where I went to make enquiries, as G.[1] contemplates sending her child to Canada. Apart from mothers, they are not allowing anyone between 16 and 60 to leave, evidently fearing a panic rush.

[1] Gwen O’Shaughnessy, Eileen’s sister-in-law. In the early stages of the war, there was a government-sponsored scheme to evacuate children to Canada and the United States. Gwen’s son, Laurence, nineteen months old in June 1940, went to Canada on one of the last ships to take evacuees before the evacuee-ship City of Benares was sunk in the Atlantic. Peter Davison

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9 Responses to 17.6.40

  1. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

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  3. itwasntme says:

    A sad diary entry with the stink of fear about it. Churchill will soon sink the French fleet, or as many ships as he can, to keep French ships out of German hands. Many French sailors were killed, but I think Churchill was right to do it. The French had promised to sink their own if Germany invaded, and some did, but it would have left England very vulnerable if Churchill had let the ships get into the German war effort.

  4. Pingback: Doctor Hoo (quick post) « Food not Bourgeoisie

  5. “The French have surrendered.”

    and in South Africa maybe the English are about to surrender to Algeria.

    The Swiss TV commentator(just now: score 0-0) observed, just befor half-time, that Princes William and Harry,there to cheer on the boys were “not very amused”

    At least today, unlike George’s generation, we’ve no World Wars to worry about. Well, not yet anyway.

  6. Warning, weird comment:
    It’s interesting that, since January, “Virtually all that [he] wrote…..” has been strictly for money, money and more money without any regard for quality or content.

    Meanwhile, since it is Tuesday, The German advance continues inexorably. The 7th Panzer Division takes Cherbourg, 5th Panzer Division occupies Brest. Among other towns captured are Le Mans, Briare, Le Creusot, Belfort, Dijon and Colmar. Also meanwhile, The RAF bomb Hamburg and Bremen.

  7. Barry Larking says:

    Regarding Orwell’s candour about writing for money and not caring, I spoke to a relative of his several years ago who told me Orwell made little money until “Animal Farm” was published (with difficulty) a few years before his death. My informant also told me he had as a boy heard the sound of Orwell typing in his parent’s house. There was old photograph of Orwell standing in a doorway, utterly distinctive in his shabby raincoat and ravaged face, on the mantle piece over the fireplace as we spoke. His own father, Orwell’s brother-in-law disapproved of him, and said privately “Why doesn’t he get a job?” This happened in the north country so it is very likely Orwell was working on “The Road to Wigan Pier” at the time.

  8. Pingback: Richard Wilkinson » Blog Archive » The French defeat…

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